A serious issue nevertheless prompted some online ridicule after South Dakota released a new anti-meth awareness campaign featuring a wide variety of people declaring, “I’m on meth.”
On Monday, Governor Kristi Noem said her Department of Social Services had launched the “largest and most aggressive meth campaign that our state has seen or done before.” The campaign, which reportedly cost the state nearly half a million dollars, includes a TV ad, billboards, posters, and a website: onmeth.com.
The campaign’s slogan — “Meth. We’re on it” — is also seen superimposed over the state outline on the campaign’s website.
In a 30-second video posted to YouTube by the campaign, dramatic piano music accompanies a cast of South Dakotans declaring, “I’m on meth.” A narrator then says, “Meth is not someone else’s problem. It’s everyone in South Dakota’s problem, and we need everyone to get on it.”
Despite the seriousness of the issue, many mocked the new motto online. One Twitter user posted: “Surprising anti-meth campaign in South Dakota. With the theme ‘Meth. I’m on it,’ what could go wrong?”
In a video posted to onmeth.com and YouTube, Noem says South Dakota’s meth crisis is “growing at an alarming rate.”
“This is our problem, and together, we need to get on it,” she says in the video. “Let’s get meth out of South Dakota.”
In a different video posted to Noem’s Facebook page, Noem said that last year, 13 South Dakotans died from meth overdoses, and that the number of 9th graders in her state who have tried the drug is double the national average.
She acknowledged that the new awareness campaign was “very different” from past ones, and said that it aims to spark hope and focus on solutions.
She also said the new slew of PSAs is about “how every single one of us in South Dakota can partner to be on meth.”
“Really, the tagline is, ‘I’m on meth.’ And what it’s talking about is each one of us, no matter who we are, that we’re on the case of meth,” she said. “That we’re protecting our family, we’re protecting our friends, we’re protecting our communities from this epidemic that we see.”
Meth Campaign Launch - visit OnMeth.com for all of the details.Posted by Governor Kristi Noem on Monday, November 18, 2019
Despite its unusual slogan and online guffaws, Noem tweeted Monday night that the campaign was actually working because it was, indeed, bringing attention to the issue.
The Argus Leader reports a Minneapolis marketing agency created the campaign. South Dakota’s Department of Social Services paid the agency nearly $449,000 this fall, according to the state’s finances website.
Methamphetamine is a highly addictive stimulant usually used as a white, bitter-tasting powder or a pill, or, in the form of crystal meth, a substance that looks like glass fragments or shiny, bluish-white rocks, according to the National Institute on Drug Abuse.
Long-term consequences of using the drug can include confusion, memory loss, extreme weight loss, severe dental issues, sleeping problems, violence behavior, paranoia, and hallucinations, among other things.
Overdosing on meth can lead to a stroke, heart attack, and/or organ problems. In 2017, about 15 percent of all drug overdose deaths involved meth, according to the organization.
Material from the Associated Press was used in this report.